Why shopping small matters in Cleveland

We’re coming to the end of another Black Friday. Tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday, and Monday is Cyber Monday… it can feel overwhelming (and maybe a little gimmicky) to have all of these specially-themed shopping days, but let’s take a look at why the concept behind tomorrow matters, not just one day of the year but the other 355, too.

Shopping “small” (and handmade) keeps more money in the local economy. In a city like Cleveland, we’d argue that where you choose to spend your money has an even larger impact than you might realize. Many of our people do this work full time. It isn’t just a hobby, or a side gig, as it so often is in other markets. This is possible in a city like ours because our cost of living is lower than average, yet we have such an amazing talent pool. Think of all the visitors who came here this summer for the RNC, or for the World Series. How many stories did you hear about their surprise love for our beloved city? We’ve got so much to offer, and the rest of the country is waking up to it at last!

Over the past twelve years doing Bazaar, we’ve gotten to know hundreds and hundreds of handmade vendors, artists, crafters, makers, artisans: whatever word you use, they’re PEOPLE. One meme that often surfaces this time of year states that buying from a small business is different because you’re not helping a CEO buy another vacation home, you’re [insert list of alternates, such paying for college, or paying a mortgage]. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s absolutely true. We could sit down and give you dozens of examples without even trying.

If you want a vibrant city with great shops, restaurants and activities, you need to support them or they go away. There’s no big corporate office floating the rent from afar. And after the holidays are over each year, these businesses are still open and waiting for you. So while there’s an obvious emphasis on the gift-giving season, because it’s when most of us make the majority of our income for the year, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that there are countless small shops you may not have seen yet waiting for you.

Here are some of our personal favorites:


Girl’s Best Trend in Lakewood, owned by Bazaar vendor Jen Buchanan


Salty Not Sweet in Ohio City, owned by Bazaar friend Candra Squire


Tidal Cool in Tremont, owned by Bazaar vendor Andrea Howell


R/S Boutique in Ohio City, owned by Bazaar friend Jennie Doran (who recently designed the interior for our Retail Lab popup in Tremont)


Just-opened Cuyahoga Collective in Lakewood, whose shopping truck you’ll remember from many outdoor Bazaar events


Opening this weekend: Ohio City Provisions, owned by Trevor Clatterbuck of Fresh Fork Market, another fantastic small Cleveland business you should know about connecting all the local food producers we have surrounding our city to shoppers who appreciate great, locally-raised food.


Canopy in Ohio City

These are just a handful of the amazing businesses we’re proud to count among our friends and colleagues who are open year-round and waiting to meet you. Remember them not just tomorrow on Small Business Saturday but the rest of the year, too. They’re making our city a more wonderful place to be!